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Burning or cutting the skin are some ways for a survivor to relieve intense anxiety triggered by memories of the abuse. It is important not to stay silent.

The Long Arm of Childhood Trauma

It is important to heal. Healing is possible. When it happens, it is the most precious gift that you can give to yourself and an act of love to your body. Sexual violence is any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act by violence or coercion. It includes unwanted sexual comments or advances, acts to traffic a person or acts directed against a person's sexuality, regardless of the relationship to the victim.

It is widespread and is considered to be one of the most traumatic, pervasive, and most common human rights violations. I specialise in male victims of sexual violence. What is Rape? Under the Sexual Offences Act , it is an offence for any male to penetrate with his penis the vagina, anus or mouth of a female or male without their consent. Male rape became recognised in law in but the legislation made victims of rape gender neutral.

What is assault by penetration? Assault by penetration is when any male or female penetrates the vagina or anus of another person without their consent. The offence is committed where the penetration is by a part of the body for example, a finger or anything else for example, an object for sexual intent. What is sexual assault?

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Sexual assault is when any male or female intentionally touches another person sexually without his or her consent. What is consent? It is a permission or agreement. This is something that must be clearly established between two people before any kind of sexual act or behaviour can take place. You can change your mind at any time.

In the UK, it is not possible to give consent if you are under the age of How often does male sexual violence happen? Much more often than people think. This indicates that there are in excess of 2 million adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the UK.

The Deleterious Effects of Child Abuse

The same reports tell us that in adulthood, 3. What are the common effects of male sexual violence?

Emotional Shock, feeling numb. Disbelief or Denial. Worried about what family and friends might think. This often leads to feeling silenced and being in isolation. Feeling disgusting. Blaming oneself. Not feeling in control.

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A general sense of feeling confused. Reliving what happened as though it was happening now. General fear. Panic attacks. Feeling overwhelmed. Physical Stress. Physical pain. Loss of appetite. What is a relational trauma? Relational trauma, often called attachment injuries, occurs when one person betrays, abandons, or refuses to provide support for another person with whom he or she has developed an attachment bond.

Relational traumas include: Sexual abuse in childhood perpetrated by someone whom the victim developed an attachment bond. Parental neglect in childhood, including lack of warmth, love, hugs. Or lack of basic needs such as shelter, food and safety. Severe parental neglect in childhood, including physical violence by one or both parents to the child. Alcoholic parents. Depressed parents. Verbal abuse by one or both parents to the child.

Sexual violence in adulthood perpetrated by someone whom the victim developed an attachment bond. Partners of sex addicts and sexual betrayals: when a spouse has one affair or mutliple affairs, sexual acts outside of the committed relationship. What is childhood neglect? Child neglect, or child abuse, refers to any behaviour by parents, caregivers, other adults or older adolescents that implies a significant risk of causing physical or emotional harm to a child or young person.

Such behaviours may be intentional or unintentional. Child abuse and neglect include: Physical abuse Emotional maltreatment Emotional neglect, including withdrawing of care. Sexual abuse Witnessing family violence The consequences of experiencing child abuse and neglect will vary considerably.


For some adults, the effects of child abuse and neglect creates significant psychological disturbances. In other adults, the effects are less debilitating. It often depends on the frequency and duration of maltreatment and if more than one type of maltreatment has occurred.

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It also depends on who the perpetrator s were. Adverse Childhood Experiences: The most important is how the child perceived their experiences at the time. Something believed to be a 'minor' incident can be perceived as huge by the child. However, there are some adverse childhood experiences that are always traumatic.

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Avoiding or numbing feelings. Depression and suicidal thoughts. Alcohol and substance abuse. Compulsive behaviours. Eating disorders and obesity. Sleep disturbances. Sexual and relationship problems. High risk sexual behaviours. Aggression and violent behaviours. Physical symptoms such as IBS and medically unexplained physical pain. A trauma is a single life event, or a series of life events that were disturbing or non-nurturing and has a long lasting psychological impact on the person causing the loss of functions such as, for example, keeping a job or social relationships.

There are four types of traumas: Incidents that threatened the person's life, or was perceived as threatening the person's life. Witnessing acts of violence. Hearing or seeing the death of someone close to the person. Sexual abuse. Domestic violence. Research in traumatology reveals that untreated trauma disrupts the nervous system and significantly alters the brain functioning. Untreated trauma is the underlying cause of many mental health and behavioural disorders including depression and addictions.

Dynamic Psychotherapy with Adult Survivors

Untreated trauma can remain undiagnosed for years. Often, trauma has its roots in early childhood development. An event in later life can trigger mental and physical symptoms that become distressing and overwhelming for the individual. Guilt Shame Poor concentration Violent behaviours Poor sleep patterns Dissociation Withdrawing People trying to cope with unresolved psychological trauma often resort to self-medicating with substances such as alcohol and drugs or with behaviours such as eating disorders, sex, gambling.

Without treatment, it is difficult to recover from the effects of unresolved trauma and its lasting impact on the mind and body.

It's Not Always Depression

The symptoms of PTS are: Re-experiencing the traumatic event in a range of sensory forms. This phenomenon is called a flashback. Avoiding reminders of the trauma by avoiding or numbing emotions. Dynamic Psychotherapy with Adult Survivors: Living Past Neglect by Lori Bennett examines the aftereffects of emotional neglect in order to help clinicians to better serve survivors.

Bennett makes an important contribution by expanding upon the definition of neglect to include emotional neglect while fostering a more profound understanding of the impact of childhood neglect upon adult survivors. How do young adults climb out of their histories of neglect? How can they hope to feel loved if they never experienced the love they needed in their families of origin? How do they combat the damage to trust? How do they learn to stop the self-blame over circumstances, to move beyond the past, and to embrace a new future?

These questions are answered in Dynamic Psychotherapy with Adult Survivors. Jason Aronson, Inc. Lori M.